Superman
The logo for Superman
Genre
Based on
Written by
Directed by
Voices of
Narrated byWilliam Woodson (opening narration)
Opening theme"Superman March" (composed by John Williams)
ComposerRon Jones
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13 (26 segments)
Production
Executive producers
ProducerLarry Huber
Running time22 minutes (2 11-minute segments)
Production companies
Original release
NetworkCBS[1]
ReleaseSeptember 17 (1988-09-17) –
December 10, 1988 (1988-12-10)

Superman is a 1988 American animated Saturday morning television series produced by Ruby-Spears Enterprises for Warner Bros. Television that aired on CBS featuring the DC Comics superhero of the same name (coinciding with the character's 50th anniversary, along with the live-action Superboy TV series that year).[2] Veteran comic book writer Marv Wolfman was the head story editor, and comic book artist Gil Kane provided character designs.[3]

Format

The series was the second animated Superman television series (after the Filmation-produced The New Adventures of Superman). While its characterization was in keeping with previous licensed incarnations of Superman characters (e.g. Superman had powers from infancy, Superman had an indestructible cape, and Lex Luthor referred to himself as a "criminal scientist") the series was notable for introducing Marv Wolfman's conception of Lex Luthor into animation. In the first episode, Luthor was portrayed as a billionaire possessing a ring fashioned with a kryptonite stone, which he used to keep Superman from apprehending him. Wolfman blended characteristics of his recent comic-book revamp of Luthor with Gene Hackman's portrayal of the character in live-action films.[4]

Other characters included Cybron (a time traveling conqueror composed of energy) and an appearance by Wonder Woman, in her first non-print appearance since the final season of Super Friends.

Classic characters included Jimmy Olsen, bow-tied in appearance, and Perry White. Lois Lane maintained her identity as an assertive woman with initiative, both in style and business attitude, although her dress and hairstyle were more reflective of the 1980s. A new character to the series, inspired by Miss Tessmacher of the live-action Superman movie from 1978, was Jessica Morganberry who appeared to be the ditzy blonde live-in girlfriend of Lex Luthor with whom he fully confided his schemes.

Superman/Clark Kent was voiced by Beau Weaver,[5] who would later go on to voice Mister Fantastic in the 1994 Marvel animated series Fantastic Four.

The "Superman Family Album"

The final four minutes of each Superman episode were devoted to a brief snapshot from the "Superman Family Album". In addition to "super-baby" misadventures in the early episodes, the segments featured rites of passage such as Clark Kent's first day at school, an overnight scouting campout, getting a driver's license, his first date, graduation from high school, and ultimately his premiere as Superman.[6] The initial idea for the segments was proposed by Judy Price, then head of the CBS Kids division.[4]

Cast

Additional voices

Crew

Ties to other Superman adaptations

The series is also of note due to its use of re-orchestrated versions of John Williams' classic themes[7][8][9][10] from 1978's Superman: The Movie, as well as an opening sequence that delivered the same narration as the 1950s Adventures of Superman television series (but by the narrator from Super Friends).

Home media

Superman Ruby-Spears DVD cover

Warner Home Video, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Family Entertainment released the series as a 2-disc set on November 3, 2009.[11]

Episodes

Superman episodes
Title Written by: Original air date
1"Destroy the Defendroids / The Adoption"Marv WolfmanSeptember 17, 1988 (1988-09-17)

  • Destroy the Defendroids: Lex Luthor's company makes robots called Defendroids that stop crooks and save people so effectively it causes Superman to move away from Metropolis. With his old rival gone, Luthor uses the Defendroids to rob a train transporting a billion dollars in gold to Fort Knox.
  • The Adoption: After Jonathan and Martha Kent discover Jor-El's spaceship on the roadside with his son, they take the baby to an orphanage. Unfortunately, there are a number of couples waiting to adopt before the Kents. The baby uses his superpowers in mischievous ways, which repel all the others way. He is then adopted by the Kents, whom he gets along with.
2"Fugitive from Space / The Supermarket"Martin Pasko
Cherie Wilkerson
September 24, 1988 (1988-09-24)

  • Fugitive from Space: When S.T.A.R. Labs discovers an alien spaceship which crashes, Lois Lane, Clark Kent, Jimmy Olsen, and S.T.A.R. Labs scientists Albert Michaels and Jenet Klyburn find within the ship two aliens named Xelandra and Argan in suspended animation until Jimmy accidentally awakens them. When it is discovered the ship was used by an intergalatic policeman who arrested a criminal, Superman must find out who is who before the criminal uses Earth to lay eggs.
  • The Supermarket: When Martha Kent takes Clark on his first shopping trip, she tries to be careful that Clark doesn't give away his powers.
3"By the Skin of the Dragon's Teeth / At the Babysitter's"Karen Willson & Chris Weber
Cherie Wilkerson
October 1, 1988 (1988-10-01)

  • By the Skin of the Dragon's Teeth: Lex Luthor buys the Great Wall of China and invites Lois Lane, Clark Kent, and Jimmy Olsen over for an interview. When Lex Luthor accidentally brings the statue of the Dragon King to life, he and Superman must work together to stop the dragon statue.
  • At the Babysitter's: Jonathan and Martha Kent leave Clark with Melissa the babysitter. Clark figures he can use his powers to skip bedtime, but learns even Kryptonians get naturally tired.
4"Cybron Strikes / The First Day of School"Buzz Dixon
Cherie Wilkerson
October 8, 1988 (1988-10-08)

  • Cybron Strikes: When Superman is celebrating Lois Lane's birthday with a fly through the skies, a metal pyramid floats down to them and they meet its pilot, a hostile cyborg named Cybron who comes from the 35th century. When Cybron's pyramid is brought to a government facility, Cybron breaks free and turns Lois, Jimmy, and a bunch of people into robots.
  • The First Day of School: Clark Kent goes to school for the first time and meets Lana Lang. During his time at school, he gets blamed for letting the class guinea pig out of its cage.
5"The Big Scoop / Overnight with the Scouts"Michael Reaves
Cherie Wilkerson
October 15, 1988 (1988-10-15)

  • The Big Scoop: Clark Kent's old friend Dr. Glozer invents the Chronotron which allows the user to see into the future. Lex Luthor wants the device and sends his men to capture Dr. Glozer and steal the machine. Using it to win at horse racing, Luthor sees a crime at the track and realizes Clark Kent is Superman. Luthor then gets Clark on a tabloid TV show to force him to reveal himself.
  • Overnight with the Scouts: Clark Kent camps in the woods with his boy scout troop where they tell ghost stories.
6"Triple Play / The Circus"Larry DiTillio
Meg McLaughlin
October 22, 1988 (1988-10-22)

  • Triple Play: Prankster seeks his revenge against those who sent him to prison. He ends up transporting the Metros and the Goliaths (two baseball teams competing in the World Series) to his uncharted island, kidnaps Judge Cook, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen (who were partially responsible for the events that sent him to prison), and threatens their lives. Superman is the only one who can rescue his friends from the Prankster when he is forced to play as a pitcher for Prankster's Robot Baseball Team against the two baseball teams for Prankster's amusement.
  • The Circus: Clark Kent inadvertently becomes part of the circus.
7"The Hunter / Little Runaway"Karen Willson & Chris Weber
Cherie Wilkerson
October 29, 1988 (1988-10-29)

  • The Hunter: While out on a holiday with his parents, Clark Kent ends up having to leave as Superman when General Zod and his companions Ursa and Faora arrive. They create a creature called The Hunter which can transform into any material it acquires. Things get difficult for Superman when The Hunter acquires the Kryptonite that is in Lex Luthor's possession.
  • Little Runaway: Clark is unhappy with his adoptive parents and decides to run away from him. He leaves but after a number of problems, he returns after he realizes that home is not worse than life on the run.
8"Superman and Wonder Woman vs. The Sorceress of Time / The Birthday Party"Cherie Wilkerson & Marv Wolfman
Cherie Wilkerson
November 5, 1988 (1988-11-05)

  • Superman and Wonder Woman vs. The Sorceress of Time: When Superman stops a meteor, a piece of it falls to Themyscira and breaks the crystal prison containing the sorceress Syrene (who has the ability to transport mythological creatures to the present) where she turns the Amazons into hideous short creatures. Now Superman and Wonder Woman must stop Cyrene before she obtains the ultimate power sealed within Themyscira... which she needs Wonder Woman to open.
  • The Birthday Party: Clark Kent's birthday party gets a surprise.
9"Bonechill / The Driver's License"Larry DiTillio
Cherie Wilkerson
November 12, 1988 (1988-11-12)

  • Bonechill: A bookstore owner named Chilton Bone uses a medallion called the Talisman of Olaf to become Bonechill, who has the ability to bring mummies and other horror monsters to life.
  • The Driver's License: Clark Kent takes his driving test.
10"The Beast Beneath These Streets / First Date"Michael Reaves
Cherie Wilkerson
November 19, 1988 (1988-11-19)

  • The Beast Beneath These Streets: Researchers have discovered an old part of Metropolis that has been buried for a hundred years. According to legend, this part of Metropolis was buried a hundred years ago when a scientist named Dr. Morpheus made a machine that allowed him to steal the powers of a number of different kinds of animals. The legend turns out to be true when Dr. Morpheus (who appears to be a man-bat) kidnaps Lois Lane. He lures Superman to his machine in a plot to steal Superman's powers, and uses bats to help Superman get there. Lois is tied to a chair and gagged in a theater on the stage. Superman sees her with his X-ray vision and unties her. She ungags herself and reveals it is a trap too late, as Dr. Morpheus drains Superman's powers. He tries to take over Metropolis and throws Superman into an underground river. But he escapes and Kryptonite is used to weaken Dr. Morpheus and force him into the machine. Superman reverses the polarity and gets his powers back. He uses his heat vision to trap Dr. Morpheus in the machine until the police arrive.
  • First Date: Clark Kent takes Lana Lang on a date to a concert.
11"Wildsharkk / To Play or Not to Play"Marv Wolfman & Cherie Wilkerson
Cherie Wilkerson
November 26, 1988 (1988-11-26)

  • Wildsharkk: In the Bermuda Triangle, Superman must do battle with a villain named Captain Wildsharkk who is hijacking ships.
  • To Play or Not to Play: Clark Kent discovers that he cannot play football since his powers give him an unfair advantage.
12"Night of the Living Shadows / Graduation"Buzz Dixon
Cherie Wilkerson
December 3, 1988 (1988-12-03)

  • Night of the Living Shadows: Lex Luthor develops a suit that enables a person to become a living shadow. He gives it to a low-level thug from Suicide Slum named McFarlane to rob a bank (who gets dubbed Shadow Thief), then uses the suit himself to rob a jewelry store. Lex Luthor then recruits a gang to use the suits in a plan to rob the mint where their robberies baffle Superman and Inspector Henderson.
  • Graduation: Clark Kent must solve a problem with his graduation robe when it gets dirty on Graduation Day.
13"The Last Time I Saw Earth / It's Superman"Steve Gerber
Cherie Wilkerson
December 10, 1988 (1988-12-10)

  • The Last Time I Saw Earth: An alien bounty hunter named Starrok steals the shuttle that Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen are in. He brings them to his planet, where they are fattened up in order to gain the proteins from their bodies to become immortal.
  • It's Superman: Upon moving to Metropolis, Clark Kent gets a job at the Daily Planet and then becomes Superman for the first time by saving Lois Lane when a bank is being robbed.

References

  1. ^ TV SERIES CREDITS
  2. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. p. 813. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  3. ^ "Ruby-Spears Superman DVD Review". IGN. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
  4. ^ a b Gross, Ed (2009-10-25). "Exclusive Interview: Marv Wolfman On the Ruby-Spears Superman Series". ComicBookMovie.com.
  5. ^ "Super '70s and '80s: "Superman" (1988 Ruby-Spears cartoon)—Beau Weaver (Superman), part 1 of 2". Noblemania. October 2, 2011.
  6. ^ "Ruby-Spears Superman". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  7. ^ 1988 Animated Theme – RM
  8. ^ 1988 Animated Theme – MP3
  9. ^ 1988 Animated Theme: Version 2 – RM
  10. ^ 1988 Animated Theme: Version 2 – MP3
  11. ^ "Superman – Package Art Swoops In for 13 Heroic Ruby-Spears Episodes". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on 2012-10-08. Retrieved 2012-05-15.

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